Monday, December 6, 2010

Why me, why blog, why now?

Well, it's been several weeks since I've posted, and the real reason is that I've been plagued by self-doubt.  I've been starting to wonder why in the world I thought blogging was such a great idea for me right now.  I have six kids and a crazy life.  Just laundry, grocery shopping and cooking are the equivalent of a normal person's full-time job.  Have I actually slipped into the abyss of large family insanity from whence no traveller returns?

I realized I needed to figure out what my real motivation is for blogging before I could go on.  Is it a bid for attention and adulation, since of course this little blog is destined to become famous (please note the intended sarcasm)?  Is it a desire  for some kind of connection with others, since I am still working to find more meaningful face-to-face connections with people since our move?  Is it because I enjoy subjecting others to my navel-gazing moments?

The truth is, it may be all those things.  Bottom line, my life is a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a whole lot of monotony that paradoxically actually matters in the grand scheme of things.  Only sometimes it's easy to wonder if I am doing a good enough job.  It's easy to wonder if doing work that is at the bottom end of the pay and prestige scale in terms of labor economics is turning my brain to mush.  Most frighteningly, it's easy to wonder if, by the time my much-loved and wanted children leave home, I will even know who I am anymore.

I need this blog now because I need to affirm, by putting it out into the world, that what I do, the decisions I'm making, and the thoughts I'm thinking are worth sharing.  Hopefully my blog will also give me some satisfying connection with other people (known and as-yet unknown) who are experiencing and thinking some of the same things I am, as well as inspiring my creativity.  But more than anything else, I need to reinforce the idea that what I do and who I am is worth expressing.  Writing it down in a format where I am sharing it with other people is symbolically and literally very powerful.

Well, I feel better having clarified that and gotten that off my chest.  Blogging world, here I am...

Friday, November 19, 2010

320 Sycamore Favorite Things Party

[favorite things button[3].jpg]

Okay, so I am so new to blogging that this is the first time I have officially linked up to anyone else's blog.  It is true. I am a newbie.  BUT, I have been following Melissa's blog, 320 Sycamore, forever.  I thought I should give it a try.  I think the link above works--hot dog! (and reference to It's a Wonderful Life is in your honor Melissa :) )

I have lots of favorites, but here are a few things that make me smile:

1. I have a kitchen scale like this:

I use it several times a week for cooking (we lived in England for a while, and they weigh dry ingredients rather than use cup measures).  But mostly I just think it looks really cute on my counter, stacked up with lemons or onions or something. 

2.  I bought this kettle in red at Costco for $20 a few months ago, and it makes me happy every time I pass my stove.  It heats water for herbal tea or hot choc quickly, and whistles softly (rather than sounding like a train is passing through your kitchen, like some kettles I've heard :) ).

Product Details

3.  I love the stuff for sale at, but I am a cheapskate thrifty, so I found a version I could shamelessly download and print on my home computer for free here.  I put it in a dollar store black frame, and bada-bing-bada-boom--it looks great hanging over my calendar.  It reminds me to not freak out (unless of course I'm super freaking...).  sorry--couldn't resist :)


4.  I love oatmeal for breakfast. This container has made it easy to have delicious topping-full oatmeal.  I put brown sugar in one compartment, chopped walnuts or almonds in another and a mixture of craisins/raisins in the third.  Pour some milk (or if I'm being decadent, cream) over the top and it is even better than the oatmeal from Starbucks, from whom I shamelessly stole this particular flavor combination.
KRUS Jar with lid clear, white Length: 9 " Width: 6 " Height: 4 " Volume: 2 qt  Length: 24 cm Width: 14 cm Height: 10 cm Volume: 1.8 l
5.  My favorite scented lotion and perfume ever:  Is it weird that I like smelling like something good to eat?

Warm Vanilla Sugar® Eau de Toilette - Signature Collection - Bath & Body Works

Thanks for inviting me, Melissa :).  Can't wait to join the party!

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Love Apples!

Remember apple kitchen décor?  Hint: it came after ducks and cows but before roosters (if you need help with your kitchen tzotchke timeline).  

I stand corrected! Apple decor is apparently alive and well--this pic is an Amazon offering. 
Well, you can take the girl out of the 90’s, but you can’t take the 90’s out of the girl.  I love apples—love to pile a heap of them in a bowl on my kitchen table, love to see the varieties at the grocery store (or even better, farmer's market), I love it all!  Maybe it’s because all apples are one (or both) of my favorite colors—red and green.

Anyway, I just got two big boxes of apples from Wenatchee (thanks, Heather!).  Here are some of my favorite things to do with them (yes, I’m madly trying to use up my apples before they go bad without having to resort to doing  something crazy like canning or something): 

Apple Crisp

1 1/3 cups flour
1 1/3 oatmeal (I always use old-fashioned but quick oats turn out just fine)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
8-10 medium apples, peeled,  cored and sliced
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Peel, core and slice apples (using a apple corer/peeler/slicer gadget = fun!).  Mix with 1 cup brown sugar and 2 Tbsp. lemon juice and spread evenly on the bottom of a buttered 9 x 13 pan.

Combine flour, oats, other brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a bowl (I use the same bowl I mix the apples in because I hate dishes just that much I'm such an efficient cook).  Cut butter into dry ingredients until the mixture is crumbly.  You can either use the paddle attachment on a KitchenAid mixer, or a pastry cutter or your fingers.  Sprinkle topping on the fruit and bake in oven for about 30 minutes or until delicious!  This makes a nice big family-sized plus friends amount of Apple Crisp (okay, about 10-12 servings--more if you are big on portion control).

Crock Pot Pork Chops with Apples and Sauerkraut

A German-inspired nod to that old Brady bunch classic, "Porkchops and Applesauce."

8 pork chops, fat trimmed
Salt and pepper
Olive oil and butter for browning
1 medium Onion
3 cups Sauerkraut
3 apples (firm, slightly tart type like Fuji or Braeburn--Granny Smith's work, too)
2/3 cups apple juice or water
2 tsp. caraway seeds

Layer half the apples and sauerkraut on the bottom of a large crockpot.  Sprinkle 1/2 the caraway seeds on top.

Sprinkle both sides pork chops with salt and pepper.  Brown both sides in equal amounts of olive oil and butter.    Put browned chops in the crockpot.  Deglaze the pan with apple juice or water.  Layer the rest of the sauerkraut, apple slices and caraway seeds over the chops.  Pour the deglazed pan juices over everything.  Cook on high for 4 hours or low for about 6.  Yum!